The legend of Santa Claus comes around practically every Christmas, but very few films tackle how the man came to be. We have a slew of films focusing on passing the sleigh down - 'The Santa Clause', 'Noelle', 'Arthur Christmas' and even bloody 'Fred Claus'. 'A Boy Called Christmas' takes us all the way back to jolly old St Nicholas' youth.
Nikolas (Henry Lawfull, TV's 'Les Misèrables') lives alone in the woods with his father (Michiel Huisman, TV's 'Game of Thrones', 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'). But one day his father is called to find proof of elves by Father Vodell (Jim Broadbent, 'Paddington 2', 'The Sense of an Ending'), the king. Nikolas' Aunt Carlotta (Kristen Wiig, 'Wonder Woman 1984', 'Ghostbusters') comes to babysit and makes his life miserable. When she burns his red hat, he notices a map to an elf village his mother used to tell him about, so he sets out on a quest to find his father and the village armed with talking mouse Miika (Stephen Merchant, 'Locked Down', 'Jojo Rabbit') and a reindeer. When he arrives, Mother Something (Sally Hawkins, 'The Shape Of Water', 'Godzilla') has taken over the village - and, in turn, made the land dark and miserable. It's now up to Nikolas to try and save the town.
'A Boy Called Christmas' is a charming holiday adventure for the whole family. When you see the stacked cast list, it feels like it's one of those movies that they won't be in a lot of, but the film actually does a good job of balancing the star power with the child actors. You never feel like you're waiting to get back to the Maggie Smith scenes - and that's thanks to Henry Lawfull's charming performance. Je really holds his own, especially when a big chunk of the film is him interacting with an animated mouse. The whole cast across the board - even the wild casting of Kristen Wiig as the evil Aunt - is really giving this film their all. Sally Hawkins as the villain is going for another Oscar nomination, Jim Broadbent is having a delightful time, and my Queen Maggie Smith, who narrates the film, while seeming incredibly tried the whole time is still on board for the magic.
A charming holiday adventure for the whole family.
Christmas movies have had more of a focus on romance over the last couple of years, but 'A Boy Called Christmas' is a nice return to family holiday flicks.
Santa tales aren't lacking, but if you're looking for something new to take the family to this season, 'A Boy Called Christmas' is a new spin on St Nick's origin that's sure to captive those young and old.